Updated: Monday, 28 Jan 2013, 11:03 PM EST
Published : Monday, 28 Jan 2013, 9:02 PM EST
HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- There were some very emotional testimonies at a packed public hearing at the State Capitol on Monday. The parents of some of the first graders killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary were among those speaking out about gun control.
Some of the ideas proposed were gun locking devices, preventing access to guns by the mentally ill, strengthening background checks and banning large magazine clips and assault-style weapons.
This will be undoubtedly be a long road, a long debate with no clear or easy answers.
While there is division concerning the gun debate, there is one unifying emotion when it comes to the tragedy at Sandy Hook...compassion for parents who lost a child.
"I'm here because my heart was stomped on as well," said Ronald Coburn of Savage Arms Company.
"We were supposed to go back and make gingerbread houses that day, we never made it," said Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis. "Twenty minutes after that, my son was dead."
The state capital was filled with people wanting to testify for tougher gun laws or challenge any idea that would infringe on Second Amendment rights but the testimony of the parents brought some in the audience to tears.
"I also would like to show you a paper cutout of a turkey he made this past Thanksgiving. Admittedly he was no "Picasso." On each feather, he was asked to write something he was thankful for," said Veronique Pozner, the mother of Noah Pozner. "But it's the center feather that really draws me in. He wrote, "The life I live."
A month ago, Neil Heslin, who lost his "buddy" Jesse, Mark Mattioli, father of six year old "James," and Veronique Pozner, who's "little man" was Noah never would have dreamed they would be testifying before a task force about gun laws but here they are, if for no other reason than a sense of duty for their children.
"Jesse was the love of my life. He was pretty much the only family I have left," said Heslin.
"I definitely have some very dark days, and I have days I feel certain restlessness, as though I need to channel this into action for the greater good. That there be some measure of something positive that came out of this," said Pozner.
"Can't we do better? Yes," said Mattioli. "How do we expect to have any impact on a society and say we are going to pass a law. This is inexcusable and we can't allow any more of this and we can't pass a law that will change the corse of the future when we don't enforce the laws we have on the books."
Mattioli questions why current gun laws are not enforced and Neil and Veronique want assault-style weapons banned. Differing opinions but their shared strength is undeniable, their stories unforgettable, their pain unfathomable and their love for their lost children unending.
"He was cheated of his full potential, I can now only dream of the man he would have become," said Pozner. "A natural outcome for what happened to me is to be able to affect change so that it possibly doesn't happen to another family."
"Jesse came late in my life and it was something, I loved every second with him and he cherished every second with me too. He was my best friend, he was my buddy," said Heslin.
Heslin wants ideas and change, not politics.
"I think a lot of it's ignorance. I think a lot of it's stubbornness on both sides, both behalfs and I can't see why people can't work together," said Heslin.
There was a mother who testified, a mother who grew up with guns in the house.
"My daughters both shoot. I have them with a professional trainer and I am right there with them and I believe that it's my right to protect them. I'm a single mom, I live in Waterbury and in the past 5 weeks I've had two men come to my door knocking for no reason," said Elizabeth Drysdale.
To get into the public hearing you had to clear security and at one point the line was 2 hours long. Once you were inside you had to take a number to speak. The number climbed into the 1400's and they spoke well into the evening house. Every voice will be heard and the gun owners say they don't mind if they have to wait. They say the first amendment, freedom of speech, is protected.
"I drew a relatively high number. I was here at 7 o'clock this morning and we're gonna just wait. We're gonna wait it out and are determined to state our case," said Scott Wilson of New London.
Last week, legislators listened to better ways to improve school security. Monday was the gun debate and Tuesday we move to the issue of mental health. News 8 will be there for coverage.